JHS science students explore Justice Park

Remember how it was always so hard to come up with a topic for your school science project? On September 11, 2023, Friends of Holmes Run volunteers had a blast helping 100(ish) Justice HS students enrolled in IB environmental sciences to explore different types of field research in nearby Justice Park. The students got the chance to ask questions of scientists from FCPA, DPWES and NVSWCD, and see some of the tools and resources that these professionals use in their field work. Our goal was for the park to inspire students to think up an environmental question they would like to investigate, for this semester's science project. They walked away with a better sense of what is possible to explore. Let's do this again next year!

Aaaand it's a wrap!

The 2023 FoHR Spring Cleanup campaign ended with a bang on May 20 as more than 100 volunteers turned out for Culmore Cleanup Day! This season, FoHR organized or otherwise supported 12 cleanups along Holmes Run and its sister tributaries, Tripps Run and Backlick Run. In all, about 380 volunteers collected more than 300 bags plus the unbaggable detritus of an urban watershed -- including tires, carpets, construction debris, a bicycle and even a bed frame. The most common trash remains single-use plastic and foam packaging, however there seemed to be LESS plastic grocery bags than in prior years, which is likely due to recent county policies that encourage shoppers to use reusable bags. Many thanks to Fairfax County Park Authority/The Nature Conservancy and Clean Fairfax Council for providing resources for the cleanups, to all the organizations that coordinated a site, and especially to the site leaders: 

Broyhill Park Civic Association (Chris Davis); Culmore Place-Based Initiative/GMU (Katie Wilson); Friends of Dora Kelley Nature Park (Joyce and Dave Dexter); Furnace Record Pressing (Thao Nguyen), Holmes Run Acres and Raymondale Civic Associations (Keith Peterson, Liza Beatriz Pena), Holmes Run Valley Citizens Association (Debbie Haggard Rosse), Inova Health Systems (Kathryn Runnerstrom), Lakeford Community Association (Bill Smith), Providence RECenter (FCPA/The Nature Conservancy); Sleepy Hollow Citizens Association (Susan Beeman);  Upper Holmes Run neighbors (Joe Knecht), and Washington Metropolitan Chapter Community Associations Institute (Angel Robles). 

Find more pictures here. Let's do it again next year!

Explora/Explore 2022

Friends of Holmes Run had the fun of hosting about 50 wonderful kids from Culmore area of Fairfax during Latino Conservation Week as they explored the Holmes Run III Trail and the stream valley that unites communities to each other, to clean water, to the natural world and to the Potomac. The kids got up-close-and-personal with the stream and surrounding wildlife, learned a few things from some great naturalists from FCPA, NVSWCD and FoHR, cooled off in nearby Parklawn Pool, and made use of some great scientific take-home swag. Many thanks to generous financial support from Markon Solutions and in-kind donations from groups such as Defensores de la Cuenca, Fairfax Water and Parklawn Pool. Let's do it again next summer!

THANK YOU to the Spring 2022 Stream Cleanup Teams!

What do an umbrella stand, a full gallon of motor oil, two kayak paddles, 10 vehicle tires, a wrought-iron gate and a full complement of upholstered van seats have in common? They're among the more than 8,000 lbs of trash that will NOT be making its way into the Potomac River this year, thanks to the great work of volunteers at 14 site cleanups in the Holmes Run/Cameron Run watershed during the month of April.

All told, 315 volunteers contributed about 800 hours of their collective time to clean up our local waterways and stream valley parks. While some finds were indeed bulky and unusual, the most common litter that made its way into about 325 contractor bags was also the most important to remove, due to the vast quantity, its effect on soil and water quality, and its longevity on this earth: Food packaging, plastic bags, PPE, beverage bottles and foam of all kinds. 

On behalf of Friends of Holmes Run, I'd like to convey a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to the following groups and employers for hosting cleanups in our watershed, and especially to their amazing site leaders:

Broyhill Park Civic Association (Chris Davis); Upper Holmes Run community (Joe Knecht); City of Alexandria Parks & Recreation (Mary Farrah, Gavin Pellittiri); Fairfax County Park Authority (Julie Tahan, Elizabeth Gallagher, Suzanne Holland); Friends of Dora Kelley Nature Park (Dave and Joyce Dexter); Furnace Record Pressing (Jessica Chinlasith and Thao Nguyen); Holmes Run Acres & Raymondale civic associations (Keith Peterson); Holmes Run Valley Citizens Association (Debbie Haggard Rosse); Jefferson Manor Citizens Association (Derek Cole); Lakeford Community Association (William Smith); Markon Solutions (Rachel Hannigan);  The Nature Conservancy; Sleepy Hollow Bath & Racquet (Andrew Orlando) and Sleepy Hollow Citizens Association (Jeanine Manley). Thanks, too, to the City of Alexandria Sheriff's office, B.S. Troop 681, Hensel Phelps, MOMs Market and HITT for sending groups of volunteers to the cleanups, and to FoHR members Kathleen Brown and Carol Turner for their coordination assistance.

Check out the photos here, and let's do it again next year! 

Who am I? 

Native Gardening

in Autumn

Join FoHR master naturalist Sarah for a tour of her native garden, and how it supports the wildlife in her part of Holmes Run.

This stocky creek fisherman can sometimes be seen wading very slowly and meticulously in the wetlands of upper Holmes Run....

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron breeds mainly in swampy areas in the deep South but can be found in smaller numbers in our area. Its main diet consists of crustaceans like the crayfish that live in the muddy Holmes Run tributary that runs through Luria Park. These herons spend winters in northern parts of South America. If you see this special summer visitor, snap a photo or observe quietly but try not to linger for too long -- he may become stressed and miss out on a meal! For more photos and helpful descriptions on this and other birds of upper Holmes Run, scroll down this page to see a live feed from the Fedorkos' amazing bird blog, or visit

A visit to Lake Barcroft Dam (Dec. 2021):

Visit Lake Barcroft WID's live 'Dam Cam

April 2021 Holmes Run Watershed Cleanups: A giant THANK YOU!

Holmes Run is a LOT cleaner thanks to the 378 amazing volunteers who sprang into action to make a dent in 2+ years' worth of litter at as many  chokepoints as we could get to from Apr. 10 to May 1. Thanks to COVID lockdown, it had been a while....

In just four weekends, we held 13 cleanups and pulled an estimated 7,800 pounds of trash out of the waterways and associated parkland from Falls Church to the City of Alexandria. That included 390 contractor trash bags, but also an assortment of unbaggable furniture, appliances, car parts, building materials,  toys, clothing... You get the idea. Among the weirdest finds: A life-size sculpture of a man's head. Among the most common: plastic, plastic, and plastic. And foam.

The Potomac River thanks you.

SPECIAL THANKS to the following groups and employers for hosting cleanups, and especially to their amazing site leaders:

Broyhill Park Civic Association (Chris Davis); Friends of Dora Kelley Nature Park (Dave and Joyce Dexter); Fairfax County Park Authority (Julie Tahan, Elizabeth Gallagher); FoHR co-founder Joe Knecht and neighbors; Justice Park IMA (Carol Turner); Furnace Record Pressing (Jessica Chinlasith); Holmes Run Acres Civic Association (Keith Peterson); Holmes Run Valley Citizens Association (Debbie Haggard Rosse); Jefferson Manor Citizens Association (Tania Basom); Lake Barcroft Association (Jeff Connor-Linton); Lakeford Community Association (William Smith); Markon Solutions (Rachel Hannigan); Nature Conservancy; Raymondale Civic Association (Sarah McGowan); Sleepy Hollow Bath & Racquet (Andrew Orlando).

To view the photo album, see: Spring 2021 Holmes Run Cleanups

History Walk of Upper Holmes Run, June 2020:

I-66 outside-the-beltway roadway expansion project / impact on Holmes Run 2020:

Click on the photos at right and at left to see photos of the impact of the I-66 roadway expansion project on the Holmes Run watershed as of spring, 2020. Courtesy of Friends of Accotink Creek

Birds of Raymondale  / Fairview Park / Upper Holmes Run blog: